Nina Kent: Teaching the Young Dancers of Membertou

Nina Kent: Teaching the Young Dancers of Membertou

Many things are celebrated through dance in the Mi’kmaw culture such as Mawiomi (Pow wow) and Spring Gathering. During the 6th Annual Wi’kipaltimk (Spring Gathering) that happened here in Membertou on March 25th, our Destination Membertou team had the pleasure of admiring some of the dancers. We also had the opportunity to become acquainted with Nina Kent and learned that she teaches some of Membertou’s youth to dance. We asked her to share her story with us. Nina says, “It’s so important to share my knowledge and journey of dancing. It has helped me overcome adversity and has shaped me into the person I am today. Dancing has given me purpose, confidence, pride, and an outlet to express myself. Which is exactly what youth today need as they find their path in life.”

Nina Kent: Teaching the Young Dancers of Membertou

Why do I dance? I dance for people who can’t dance, I dance to be a better person and for all the amazing energy that comes from stomping my feet on the Earth to the beat of a drum. It’s so important to share my knowledge and journey of dancing. It has helped me overcome adversity and has shaped me into the person I am today. Dancing has given me purpose, confidence, pride, and an outlet to express myself. Which is exactly what youth today need as they find their path in life.

I have been dancing since I was a young girl and had learned just by observing other jingle dancers in the pow wow arena. I stopped dancing for a few years because I grew out of my regalia and didn’t make it a priority to save for, or make a new one. During those stagnant years I felt a cultural disconnect; it wasn’t until my mother gifted me a new regalia that I felt comfortable to dance again. I dance for many reasons and I share the story and healing aspects of the dance and dress. One of the most important reasons I dance is to carry on and promote dancing, not only for the jingle dress, but every style (Traditional, Grass, Gojua, Fancy, etc.).

 My message to all the youth is to seek out what makes you happy, there’s a place for everyone in the pow wow circle. Dancing, drumming, observing, or even helping to organize pow wow events. Try everything out before you decide what’s for you. You don’t need regalia to dance- just a pair of comfortable shoes, the mindset to learn and to not be afraid to challenge yourself.

Nina Kent,

 

Anishinaabe from Treaty 3- Obash’kaan’da’gaang First Nation, now residing in Eskasoni

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